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Ann Lambton Lecture Series


Recent Lectures

"Why History Matters - Reflections on the Origins and Significance of the Iranian Revolution of 1979"

14th March 2018

Dr Michael Axworthy

Director of Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies, University of Exeter

Dr Michael Axworthy has visited Iran many times and served as the Head of Iran Section in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 1998-2000. After he left the FCO in 2000 he turned his interest to early and contemporary Iranian history. He published his first book The Sword of Persia, about the Iranian conqueror Nader Shah in July 2006. He has also written a number of articles and made numerous TV and radio appearances discussing Iranian subjects.

His second book appeared in November 2007 as Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran, now translated into Dutch, Czech, Italian, Spanish, German and Finnish. REVOLUTIONARY IRAN, Michael’s latest book, published in 2013, tells the story of Iran since the revolution of the ayatollahs, including a full account of the terrible Iran-Iraq War, one of the most bloody since the Second World War and a conflict which has had a profound impact on Iranian society.


Views from inside: how Iranian travellers of the Qajar period perceived and described their own country

29 March 2017 

Professor Birgitt Hoffmann, Iranian Studies, University of Bamberg

The Ann K S Lambton Memorial Lecture is jointly hosted by the Durham University's School of Government & International Affairs and the British Institute of Persian Studies.

The Qajar period (1796-1925) saw a remarkable increase in Persian travelogues describing journeys abroad, pilgrimages and domestic trips. So far scholarly attention has concentrated rather on Iranians touring Europe and beyond in the context of the first diplomatic missions, students’ delegations, official visits of ruling monarchs and private trips of lesser celebrities. Studies mostly focus on the impression Europe made on these travellers and how they expressed their experiences through the writing of travelogues. In contrast this paper will deal with the more neglected travel accounts written by Iranians who for whatever reason roamed their home country and put their impressions into writing. Systematic perusal and evaluation of these texts will not only contribute to a better assessment of local conditions but also to a better understanding of modes of perception and ways of thinking.